THE public bailed out the banks in 2008. Those banks will never be forgiven if they refuse to rescue taxpayers’ jobs now.
We have all been repulsed by eBay profiteers flogging handwash at ridiculous mark-ups, and by oil firms buying crude at rock-bottom prices, then shaving just a penny or two off at the pumps.
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That all pales into insignificance against banks which, while knowing millions of livelihoods are in danger, refuse loans to ordinarily healthy firms or demand extortionate interest rates.
It’s indefensible when the Government has committed billions to underwrite Coronavirus Business Interruption bank loans of up to £5million a time.
Even with that safety net some won’t cough up.
Or, despite a base rate of 0.1 per cent, its lowest ever, they demand 20, 30, even 40 per cent interest, secured against directors’ homes. It is sickening.
One in five small firms, with four million workers, will reportedly collapse in a month without help.
If the lockdown lasts three months, a third will go under.
It is exactly the cataclysm Chancellor Rishi Sunak is desperate to avoid.
He must order banks to lend NOW and at reasonable rates.
If their selfish greed kills millions of jobs there will be hell to pay.
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A HUGE increase in Covid testing needs Dunkirk-style ingenuity and effort from hundreds of small labs around Britain.
Public Health England must sanction it.
The 200,000 NHS staff off sick or self-isolating, without even knowing if they or a relative have coronavirus, must be able to get back to work.
They have never been more needed, as yesterday’s horrifying leap in deaths shows.
Despite what the Government says, we have the chemicals to make testing kits — and those are supposedly straightforward enough to manufacture.
A factory could be rapidly retooled to produce them, as with the huge engineering plants now turning out ventilators.
Public and private labs could then be approved by PHE to carry them out.
It is insane that one UK firm already making tests sells them abroad because we have too few labs to handle them.
Mass testing is vital to save lives and end this economy-wrecking lockdown. But Britain has dropped the ball.
The fiasco at the temporary NHS testing centre in Wembley typifies the chaos.
We simply must raise our game.
THE “clap for the NHS” was a magnificent national display of pride in our health workers. Let’s do it again tonight.
It means so much to those heroes risking their own safety day after day.
At 8pm, open your windows and give the NHS another rousing ovation.
And let’s do it every week until we finally defeat this horrific disease.
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